On the occasion of International Women’s Day, and in keeping with this year’s theme #BalanceForBetter, DBWRF celebrates women achievers through a series of articles. In the first of the series, we highlight hobbypreneur Insiya Moiny’s journey as a rida designer and businesswoman.
The rida is not just a garment for Dawoodi Bohra women; it is the very fabric of their culture. In fact, most women are so enamoured by its colour and ample scope for design, that they often create their own ridas to suit their personal taste. So, it wasn’t surprising when Insiya Moiny began designing ridas as a hobby. But what’s even more commendable is her journey from a hobbypreneur to a successful entrepreneur, who owns one of the finest stores for wedding wear in Surat-Kisvat Creation.
A graduate from the Jamia University, Insiya was certain that she wanted to strike a balance between being a homemaker and a designer. Having watched her elder sisters make a mark for themselves as an artist, she was inspired to carve her own niche as a designer. It was at a community convention, presided by the 52nd Dai Mohammed Burhanuddin, where she had first displayed her line of ridas. In his sermon to the members of the community present at the convention, he emphasised and encouraged women to use their hunar (talent) and further themselves in life. In this call, Insiya found her calling.
“I feel blessed to be living in this era. Our Syedna, taking forward his father’s vision and tenets, always urges us to be entrepreneurs and make a living using our talent. I used to design ridas merely as a hobby. Post my wedding, when I started working, I undertook orders only to embroider outfits. But then, I took the plunge and set up a small shop of my own; I haven’t looked back since,” says Insiya, with pride. Making a humble beginning from an 8x12 feet shop that sold only ridas, today, she has prospered to setting up a plush three-floor store in a prime, bustling locality of Zampa Bazaar in central Surat. The range too, has grown, from just ridas, to wedding wear for women as well as men, along with jewellery, accessories, and gifts. “It’s not a mere store anymore; it’s become a one-stop shop for everything one may need for any special occasion,” she smiles, as she lifts her eyes to Allah in gratitude.
Growth and ambition have been Insiya’s constant companions thorough her childhood into adulthood, and her marriage not only elevated these traits further, but also fuelled her passion, propelling her to new heights. “My husband and family have been my biggest support. I had the talent, but with their guidance, I learnt financial management and administration. My brother taught me how to raise capital, grow my business, and make it profitable. I always wanted to grow, and I was ambitious too. Along with my family it was my loyal and hardworking staff which stood by through thick and thin with me, helped me realise my dreams,” says the successful entrepreneur.
She further states that it pains her when her community is perceived as patriarchal or oppressing women. “The FMB kitchen was founded so that the women of our community are freed from domestic chores and can invest that time in honing their talent or learning and doing something that they wish. Our Syedna emphasises that a husband and his wife are a team who shoulder equal responsibility to run a marriage and household. And yet, our community is perceived as one which oppresses women. Neither our religion nor our societal makeup is such,” she states vehemently.
Insiya’s success story is truly an inspiration for all young girls out there, that if you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. Defying all perceptions, she powered through to design her own destiny, showing the world the true face of a Dawoodi Bohra woman.